Hundreds of thousands of government workers were forced to go home this week or work without being paid until the end of the shutdown. Regardless of your political views on the subject or how much money you saved from previous paychecks, this may have significantly affected you and your family. Take a page from those already battling their budgets to make sure that you can pay your bills, and continue to save, during the government shut down.
- 1. TV & Internet – giving up DirecTV would be incredibly hard on my husband. How on Earth would he go on without umpteen-billion channels we don’t watch? Netflix and Hulu Plus would be significantly cheaper, to the tune of 90% cheaper per month than what we currently pay, but I called DirecTV and they were willing to work with us. Marriage = saved. Don’t hesitate to contact your cable/satellite and internet providers to see if they can work out some type of deal with you. Your business in the long term means more to them then how much you are paying for their services.
- 2. Rent/Mortgage, Car Payments – Don’t rush off to pawn your Xbox or jewelry just yet, you can still pay your rent or your mortgage. If someone in your household was furloughed or exempted from furlough without pay, they should have received an official memorandum stating such. With this memo, many banks and landlords will either work with you or defer your payment for the time being. If it is a feasible option for you, consider moving to a smaller home or getting a car that doesn’t require a payment. If you can be comfortable with less than you can save even more money in the future.
- 3. Food – Chances are, you have a friend that is a coupon-freak. You may or may not know it, but they are there, they are savvy and they are waiting to teach you all about the magical world of couponing and how to save hundreds of dollars a month. For diapers, formula, pet food and many of your favorite items, you can call the customer service number listed on the company’s website and be sent additional coupons to make your shopping experiences easier on your wallet. On top of that, I’m willing to bet that you know someone that is into canning. Growing your own food or buying in bulk and canning can also save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. If your town has a farmer’s market, you can often go at the end of the day and negotiate cheap prices on fresh locally grown produce.
- 4. Go Natural – There are an endless number of websites and blogs touting ways to create your own toothpaste, laundry detergent, lotions, shampoos and just about any other item that you can think of for a fraction of the cost of the same store bought item. Plus, the vast majority of these recipes are “natural” or “healthy” compared to their sisters on the shelves.
- 5. Clothes and Perks- Do you need new clothes because you have lost or gained weight, or you need an update to your wardrobe to go job hunting? You’re not alone. Organize clothing swaps with your friends, so you can all borrow or keep pieces on clothing that make you feel confident during a time that you need to most. Don’t dis-count consignment stores either; you never know what awesome clothes you will score for cheap prices. For other luxuries, you and your friends can give each other facials, mani-pedis, new makeup options and new hairdos, all for nominal cost. Don’t have friends? Now is as good a time as any to make some!